Stewart Prestley Blake was born in Jersey City, N.J., on Nov. 26, 1914, to Herbert Prestley Blake and Ethel (Stewart) Blake. He grew up in Springfield, where his father worked for the clock manufacturer Standard Electric Time Company; his mother was an automobile aficionado who encouraged her sons’ fascination with cars. He bought a Model T Ford by the time he was 16, using earnings from a newspaper route. (Another brother, Hollis, died at age 2.)

Mr. Blake attended Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., for a year before returning to Springfield to open his ice cream store with his brother Curtis.

The Blake brothers closed the shop during World War II to join the war effort. Mr. Blake went to work for what is now Westinghouse Electric Corporation, tracking down elusive electronic equipment and delivering it to wartime manufacturers. (Curtis Blake served in the Army Air Forces in Britain.)

After selling Friendly in the 1970s, Mr. Blake…

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